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sxsw2014 Wed Mar 12 2014
Archie Powell of Archie Powell & the Exports gives us the run-down on the band's first day in Austin, including just as much corporate mumbo-jumbo as you'd expect and some Chicago pride.
I skipped SXSW last year, and all the while I was convinced I hadn't really missed much. Today was a reminder of what the big deal of this whole fracas really is. And it was only day one.
To begin with a lighter note, SXSW offers plenty in way of the complimentary and absurd. This is no surprise to the average veteran, but to those at home who have never made the trek, allow me to illustrate: if you tweet about Cottonelle baby wipes, you can earn yourself a free massage. Pair that with a commendable array of odd pan-cultural fusion via vehicular culinary purveyors stationed across the street and you've got a bizarre start to your day. Korean chicken burrito and hygienic towelettes. Conflict of interest? Perhaps, but just roll with it. This shit's all over the place.
Archie Powell & The Exports had the pleasure of playing their first official SXSW showcase today (specifically curated by the city of Chicago's department of tourism). We aren't used to this. We met the mayor and were served fancy tray snacks like we weren't a crew of unwashed transients. After a spell of being on the road, you're lucky to get eye contact with the Boomer elites, let alone be given the time of day and goaded into crushing a baker's dozen horseradish short rib buns. We all took full advantage and loaded our gear into the night's venue universally droopy-eyed.
Fast forward to myself returning to Red 7 (this evening's location) after an abjectly unsuccessful food run (I get severe menu anxiety in the face of a street food smorgasbord). This place is packed, we're on the bill, and I don't live in this town. To further explicate the confusion, this is simply not the standard confluence of circumstances. Nerves run high, and all of a sudden it's time for three drinks at once to dull my neurotic inner monologue by a necessary 25%. I guess I can perform now.
I don't wanna wax my own car or anything, but I'll be straight with you and admit that we crushed it. Turns out a packed crowd with enthusiastic folks and the right amount of Lone Star can do a body good. The quality of tunes presented by the lineup certainly didn't hurt either. Stellar performances by Prob Cause, Show You Suck, and The Autumn Defense (among others) make us all feel grateful for living in such a rich talent pool as our home base of Chicago. Vibes run high, my buddy Gordon from Chicago's own The Damn Choir buys me several superfluous tequila shots, and I dismount from the night with a shit-eating grin and a sneaking sense of assuredness that maybe I'm not wasting my time with this ridiculous fantasy lifestyle.
And then the Fire Marshal pulled the plug on Chance the Rapper. I don't know, man. Shit's buck wild.
Archie Powell & the Exports' current (and subject to change) SXSW Music Fest schedule:
Tuesday, March 11 - Red 7, Official DCASE Showcase, 611 E. 7th St
Wednesday, March 12, 2pm - Convention Center, DCASE
Saturday, March 15, 2:45pm - Good Land Record Party
Saturday, March 15, 3:15pm - Freedman's Bar, 2402 San Gabriel St.
Saturday, March 15, 6:30pm - Jam in the Van